Kaat Celis, PhD in the Arts

I want to do visual research on how we deal with the threat of climate change and how the tree, as a symbol of the saviour of the climate, can appear in photography, past and present, and be a protagonist in the new mindset about the climate. With this research I want to reinforce the importance of the tree from an artistic, universal language. I am curious to see how the landscape with its focus on trees has evolved throughout history and how this will manifest itself in the future, how this will affect my practice and above all: how this can help support our understanding of climate, nature and ecology. I want to combine insights in my research so that I can tell the importance of the tree for people and society in an easily accessible way from the language of photography. In my research I use, among other things, the methodology of photo educationalist Terry Barrett.


  • Dr. Peter De Graeve (supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
  • Em. Prof. dr. Johan Swinnen (co-supervisor, VUB)

Research unit: Image

Duration: 2021 - 2025

Kaat Celis